The Price of Beauty


A Guide to Rhinoplasty and Liposuction

One of the most attention-grabbing news that I heard recently is the one about a Chinese girl who wants plastic surgery done on her in order to look like American actress Jessica Alba and win back her ex-boyfriend. The guy is apparently very much obsessed with Alba and even gave a blonde wig to the girl so she could look more like the actress. The 21-year old broke up with her boyfriend because of this obsession but was devastated afterwards and now she’s pushing all the boundaries just to get him back. She found a cosmetic surgery clinic that is willing to perform all the procedures for free to showcase their skills. Honestly I do not know if I should laud the girl for her courage to undergo such fragile operation, or if I should think she is just completely out of her mind that she reached this decision! But whatever her reason may be I do wish her all the best and that she may have a safe surgery.

I think this bit of news shows more than just a lovesick girl. Looking at the bigger picture, it is a testament to the strong influence exerted by the media and Hollywood on the perception of beauty in modern times. Actresses such as Jessica Alba have been placed on pedestals and many women admire them for their “perfection”. Though the definition of perfection may vary from person to person, there is no denying that there is a prevalent standard that has developed among society with regard to what is beautiful and what is sexy. With the proliferation of advertisements showing women with flat bellies, round breasts, fuller lips and the like, plastic surgery, which was once a procedure done to correct birth defects, has evolved into a multi-million, money-making industry for those who aspire to look better. This is the reason why cosmetic facial surgery has become very popular among women in this century, and even men have become very conscious about their outward appearance and also joined the craze.

The “Nose Job” and the “Fat Eliminator”
Let’s look at two of the most popular surgical procedures being performed all over the world in cosmetic surgery clinics. First up, there is cosmetic rhinoplasty.

There are hundreds of diet regimens out there designed for you to lose weight and make you slimmer. But there is no way to alter the size and shape of the nose through natural means. According to Penn Medicine, Rhinoplasty is a surgery to reshape the nose and is one of the most common cosmetic procedures. Cosmetic rhinoplasty improves the appearance and shape of the nose and can make the facial features look more harmonious. The procedure can change the size, width, and profile of the nose, as well as decrease the size of the nostrils and the nasal tip if they are too flared or too wide. Rhinoplasty is also performed by facial plastic surgeons on people who suffer from impaired breathing due to structural defects in the nose and on people whose noses have been deformed due to accidents.

A cosmetic rhinoplasty can be classified as either open (when incisions are made on the base of the nose), or closed (when the surgeon performs the procedure inside the nose). According to DocShop, candidates for rhinoplasty should at least be in their mid-teens – 14 to 15 years old for girls and slightly older for boys. By this time, the structure of the nose should already be stabilized. Statistics released by the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) actually show that the age bracket of ages 18 and under comprise the 2 percent of the total number of procedures (surgical and non-surgical) that have been performed from 2004 to 2008 in the United States. Throughout those years, rhinoplasty has been the most common cosmetic surgery done on teenagers, except in 2007 when more cosmetic ear surgeries have been executed.

Recent statistics show that the total number of recorded rhinoplasty operations in the United States for 2008 is 152,434. The physician’s fee for cosmetic rhinoplasty costs around $4,188 (based on ASAPS data), and that is good for one session of 1-2 hours. The healing time lasts for 1-2 weeks and the results are permanent.

The next procedure we will look into is cosmetic liposuction. Liposuction used to be the most popular surgical procedure from 2002 until 2007. It was bumped off the top spot in 2008 when breast augmentation became the number one procedure in terms of number among American women. According to MedicineNet, liposuction includes the surgical suctioning of fat deposits from different parts of the body, the most common being the abdomen, the buttocks and the thighs. A hollow instrument called the cannula is inserted under the skin and a strong vacuum operates to “suck” the fats out of the body.

Cosmetic liposuction slims and reshapes the areas of the body where there may be fat deposits despite having good health and fitness. It improves the contours of the body and accentuates the curves. Another variation of the procedure is the tumescent liposuction. The method involves injecting a saline solution to the area being treated, along with the anesthetic lidocaine and the adrenaline epinephrine in order to minimize the bleeding. Fats are subsequently suctioned out through microcanulas or smaller, hollow tubes. Although tumescent liposuction is the most common liposuction performed at present, many deaths have been blamed on the procedure. The fatal aspect of this type of liposuction lies in whether a patient can handle the other effects of lidocaine including the slowing down of the heartbeat and subsequent dropping of the blood pressure.

Despite of the deaths that have been associated with cosmetic liposuction, people still flocked to their plastic surgeons so that they too can undergo the operation. ASAPS reported that in 2008, physician’s fee for liposuction cost around $2,979 for one session that lasts for 45 minutes to 2 hours. The results are permanent and healing time is 1-2 weeks.

Is Cosmetic Surgery Really for You?

In retrospect, people should be reminded that cosmetic surgical procedures are entirely optional. This means that they can live their lives without having these operations performed on their bodies, unless of course certain physical defects need to be treated in order for them to function normally. While many people can vouch for the safety of these surgeries, one should not discount the horrible stories that arise from failed procedures that instead of enhancing the body caused it to be less attractive. It is important that people who are considering undergoing cosmetic surgeries consult with trustworthy facial plastic surgeons and physicians, and have these procedures done in established cosmetic surgery clinics so that they may have safe and successful surgeries.